10 Oct 2023Mont Marte

Often thought of as the “empty” space around an object, negative space is actually helpful to emphasis subjects, and it gives our eyes a place to rest and take it all in. But negative space drawings don’t have to be boring, in these 12 negative space drawing ideas we’re showing off just how interesting they are.


1. Train station

1. An outline drawing of a train station drawn in black pen on white paper.


Image: @tf_wrks

Looking for some negative space drawing ideas? Head to a train station and sketch what you see. This could be a quick exercise or you could easily turn it into a masterpiece, either way it’s a great way to show negative space.


2. Shading

2. Negative space drawing of a person standing in a kitchen with blue shading.


Image: @stella.antoniadou.artworks

Negative space doesn’t mean you need to use a solid colour for a background.
Shading is a good way of adding interest to your negative art drawings too. After focusing on your subject, add shading to key areas for both visual interest and make your subject stand out even more.


3. Trees

3. A negative space drawing of a tree with light blue marker shading in the background.


Image: @aleesha_n

If nature is your go-to, try drawing a tree without connecting the branches for even more negative space. It might seem odd at first, but leaving the lines disconnected will bring more attention to the subject.


4. A chair

4. Hand holding a drawing of a chair with orange pencil and shading around the chair.


Image: @mithimakes

You might have seen a chair negative space drawing before. It’s a great exercise to try when you’re learning to get a hands-on idea of negative and positive space. Find a chair and set a timer to see how you can focus on the one object and the space around it.


5. Animals

5. A drawing of a beaver in a sketchbook in black pen, the drawing is held up with the beaver in the background.


Image: @cyy.ka

If you’re liking the idea of negative space drawing, but needing a bit of a creative spark, head to a zoo with a sketchbook and pen and try your hand at negative space drawing. Who knows what you might spot, like this cute beaver.


 6. Adding colour 

6. Ferns drawn in a notebook with with purple, green and blue backgrounds.


Image: @sandrine_jouve

You can still add colour to a negative space drawing. Remember a dark will force a light forward, so using strong colours with negative space and light outlines will bring your designs even more to the centre stage.  This is why negative space is used a lot in graphic design for logos too -- the more you know hey.


7. Contrasting colours

7. A cat drawn in white charcoal on black paper.


Image: @wisonhendrik

If shading isn’t your cup of tea or you’re looking to add more details to your negative art drawings, try black paper and white charcoal. This will give your drawings the dark background they need, and you’ll have more time to focus on the details, sounds good to us!


8. Plants

8. A negative space drawing of a pot plant with a black background.


Image: @jessicaantonelliart

Not sure where to start? A plant is another way to begin drawing negative space. Focus on the leaves and the shapes they form, add in a pot if you like, then the space you have behind them will form the negative space.


 9. Drawing the details 

9. A drawing of roses in a vase, with a shaded background.


Image: @hanbing.art

You can still be detailed in your negative space drawings and easily turn an “outline” into something more. Remember to keep your backgrounds (or negative space) dark so the objects “pop” and the eye focuses on the object.


10. Consider poses

10. Negative space drawing of a person dancing drawn in pencil.


Image: @stella.antoniadou.artworks

You can still have fun with a negative space drawing. Try drawing your subjects in different poses like running, dancing or jumping and focus on the movement, this will also teach you more about movement and it’s a great way to learn!


11. A window

11. A drawing artwork of a window sill with various plants on it.


Image: @carowa11

Using a window as a frame for your negative space drawing is another idea. Whether you have a favourite spot in mind or use a bit of creativity to add to the objects (or the view) play around and have fun with it.


12. Use fun colours

12. Various objects drawn in coloured markers on white paper.


Image: @morgangrice97

Whether you pick up a few markers or dip into your favourite colours, find an object and get drawing! We love these ideas of a cat, a bird or even a shell for some creative inspiration.


With these ideas in mind, we hope you feel ready to take on negative space drawing for yourself! We’d love to see what you create, tag us #montmarteart or @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook, so we can see it.

Looking for more? Play with perspective and check out these 8 one point perspective ideas. Or get more great ideas delivered to your inbox by joining our Creative Connection. To join, scroll to the bottom of our website and pop in your email, it’s that easy.